What Is A Ragweed Allergy
Ragweed allergies are considered to be part of seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as “hay fever.” Much like other pollen allergies that fall under this banner, your body reacts poorly when the ragweed plant’s pollen enters your immune system through your nose, ears, or mouth.
While most pollen allergies are triggered in the springtime, those with a particular sensitivity to ragweed need to be vigilant not only in the spring, but during the late summer into fall when ragweed pollen is particularly prevalent.
Getting Rid Of Giant Ragweed
Ragweed spreads via seed, so efforts to eradicate it should focus on preventing seed production. Frequent mowing in the spring and summer in uncultivated areas will help reduce seed formation.
Hand-pulling in the early spring before flowering is the best method to get rid of giant ragweed. Early eradication prevents seeds from forming. The plant’s roots are shallow and come out of the ground easily. However, make sure to wear thick gardening gloves and long sleeves and pants, as ragweed sap can cause skin irritation for some people.
Ragweed Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Giant Ragweed. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Ragweed Pollen Can Travel Hundreds Of Miles
Ragweed pollen is very light, making it easy for the wind to carry it for miles. In fact, it has been found in the ocean as far as 400 miles away from the coast and two miles up in the air.
Dont let ragweed follow you around. Cover your hair when you go outside or wash it at night to remove pollen. Also have everyone who enters your home leave their shoes at the door.
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How Long Is Ragweed Season
Ragweed plants start flowering in July or August and go on for 6 to 10 weeks. In many areas the release of pollen peaks in mid-September. Exactly when symptoms of ragweed allergies may strike will depend on where you live and the weather that year. You could still have a runny nose in October or even November if its still warm and dry.
Ragweed pollen only stops causing trouble once the first frost kills the plants. Thats happening later and later in the year because of rising temperatures due to climate change. A study of 11 places across the US and Canada found that 10 of them had a longer ragweed pollen season in 2015 compared to 20 years earlier. For instance Minneapolis gained an extra 18 days. That means a longer allergy season too.
Fight For Healthy Air
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We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, weve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.
While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, were excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:
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How To Kill Ragweed In Your Lawn
Weeds stand between you and a thick, lush lawn, but ragweed impacts more than lawn beauty. This common weed emerges in spring, but often goes unnoticed until its late-summer pollen hits the air. When friends or family suffer from allergies or asthma, ragweed can trigger severe reactions and bring a quick end to outdoor activities. But with these insights, you can kill and control ragweed, enjoy a beautiful lawn, and keep summer fun going strong:
Natural Allergy Relief Options
What helps relieve allergies fast? Watching what you eat, getting plenty of fresh air and drinking enough water are some of the natural remedies that can relieve allergies by improving functions of the immune system.
It may take several weeks for your symptoms to subside, but they are likely to be better kept under control when you tackle the root causes. Here are nine ways to get natural allergy relief.
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Alkaline Diet
First and foremost, start eating an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Caring for your body with nutrient-dense foods gives your immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can fight off common allergies in your environment.
Here are some of the best foods and ingredients to incorporate into your diet to help you beat allergies:
Although its not abundant in many foods, vitamin D is also important for immune function and may help manage allergy symptoms. In fact, certain studies have shown that children who live farther from the equator are more likely to develop allergies and suffer higher rates of hospital admissions due to allergic reactions.
You can get enough vitamin D by spending about 15 minutes in the sun most days without sunscreen and by eating foods like whole milk and some mushrooms for natural allergy relief.
2. Local Raw Honey
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What Causes Fall Allergies
Fall allergies go under the category of allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, which happens when your bodys immune system reacts to an inhaled pollen in the air. It can cause:
- Post-nasal drip .
Allergic rhinitis encompasses seasonal allergies those that arrive with the onset of a particular season as well as allergies you have all year round, known as perennial allergies.
Perennial allergens are year-round and include people who are sensitive to animal danders , as well as dust mites, cockroaches and molds, which are also considered to be year-round allergens, Dr. Aronica explains. Seasonal allergens include the spring and fall pollens and spring allergens also include trees and grasses.
Giant Ragweed And Pollen
As with many plants considered baneful in the 21st century, giant ragweed once was used medicinally in years past. But when people think of the plant nowadays, one aspect about it commonly comes to mind: fall allergies. Giant ragweed is a primary source of the pollen that causes hay fever.
Goldenrod is commonly blamed for causing such hay fever. But goldenrod is merely a victim of circumstance: It just happens to bloom at the same time of year as ragweed. Being by far the more conspicuous of the two, goldenrod has become the scapegoat for fall allergies. However, goldenrod pollen is sticky and can be spread only by insects, not by wind. By contrast, ragweed pollen floats off the plants easily on the gentlest of breezes.
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Eating Bee Pollen And Local Honey Wont Help
Despite what you may have heard, bee pollen and locally grown honey dont help allergies. Bees dont often visit ragweed they like bigger flowers with bigger pollen. Local honey doesnt have ragweed or very many other pollens in it.
Bee pollen tablets contain actual pollen collected from bees and are capable of producing allergic reactions. Oddly enough, if you take bee pollen tablets regularly, you can develop a flower allergy and eventually react to flowers.
Dealing With Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies suck, no one denies that. And, unfortunately, this article canât diagnose your allergies, just like it canât cure your symptoms if you come in contact with ragweed pollen. How that happens is between you and your doctor.
But understanding when a ragweed pollen allergy most often strikes, and the steps you can take to reduce irritating symptoms are a great way to move towards living a happier and healthier life.
And Felix makes getting your allergy medication easier, no pants needed Ã¢ unless you have to grab the package from a community mailbox, then pants are definitely recommended.
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How Is It Diagnosed
If you think you are allergic to ragweed pollen, see a board-certified allergist. They will ask you about your medical history, do a physical exam and allergy testing. They may do a skin prick test to confirm your allergy.
For prick/scratch testing, the doctor or nurse places a small drop containing ragweed pollen on your skin. They will then lightly prick or scratch your skin with a needle through the drop. If you are sensitive to ragweed, you will develop redness, swelling and itching at the test site within 15 minutes. Sometimes your doctor may take a blood test to see if you have the antibody to ragweed.
What Causes A Ragweed Allergy
A ragweed allergy occurs when the immune system has an inappropriate response to ragweed pollen. Normally, the immune system promotes chemical changes in the body that help fight off harmful invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. In people with ragweed allergies, however, the immune system mistakenly identifies the harmless pollen as a dangerous intruder and begins to fight against it. A natural substance called histamine is released when the body encounters ragweed pollen. The histamine causes many uncomfortable symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes.
Ragweed belongs to a larger family of flowering plants called Compositae. These plants can be found in all 50 states as well as in many places in Canada and temperate regions of South America. Someone can come into contact with ragweed pollen simply by breathing in the air, which makes the pollen very difficult to avoid. Ragweed pollen season typically occurs between August and mid-October, and peaks in September. The amount of pollen in the air is usually highest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., depending on the weather. Rain and low temperatures can help lower pollen levels.
People who are allergic to other substances are more likely to be allergic to ragweed pollen. Youre at an increased risk for ragweed allergies if youre also allergic to:
- dust mites
- pet dander
- other types of pollens, such as tree pollen
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See An Allergist For Ragweed Relief
For more moderate to severe symptoms of hay fever, immunotherapy is the next step.
Allergy shots are particularly effective because each injection can be customized to an individuals allergic needs.
An alternative to shots for people with a ragweed allergy is a tablet that dissolves under the tongue. You have to start taking this ragweed pill about 12 weeks before ragweed season begins, so for this year, its too late. In addition, while allergy shots can be formulated to treat specific combinations of allergies, the pill only addresses allergies to ragweed.
If you think you may have a ragweed allergy and are looking for an allergist, you can find one using the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s allergist locator.
Bob Lanier, MD, is an executive medical director and a past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He is a practicing allergist in Fort Worth, Texas.
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
Sorry Snacking On Ragweed Doesnt Work Either
This ones a rumor, too. Theres no evidence it works at all. Youre better off not munching on ragweed, because you might get a big surprise: an allergic skin reaction called dermatitis.
Dermatitis occurs when your skin touches something youre sensitive or allergic to, such as poison ivy, perfume, or a cleaning product after which your skin can become red, itchy, or swollen.
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When Does Ragweed Season Officially Begin
Ragweed season begins as summer nights become cooler and longer. This typically occurs in mid-August, but climate change is causing allergy season to begin sooner and last longer. Some cities are bracing themselves for a ragweed season beginning in early August, meaning people with allergies should begin preparing for ragweed season in July! Some allergy treatments, like Curist Allergy Nasal Spray, take up to two weeks to fully build a defense against allergens, so Curist Medical Advisor Dr. Marc Goldstein recommends starting a few weeks prior to the start of the ragweed season for maximum benefit.
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Wearing A Mask And Sunglasses During Ragweed Season May Reduce The Pollens Effects
One thing we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that masks have multiple benefits. Not only can they help reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but they can reduce your exposure to ragweed pollen too. Wearing a mask when outside can prevent pollen particles from entering your nose and lungs, lowering your chance of having symptoms.
Sunglasses can protect your eyes from ragweed pollen too. Pollen can be irritating and may cause watery and itchy eyes. Also consider a hat to keep the pollen out of your hair.
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Ways To Get Rid Of A Scratchy Throat
Youve probably had to deal with a dry scratchy throat at one point in your life. Itchy throats arent normally a telltale symptom of a severe condition, but you will bear me witness that they are not fun, more so when it is a combination of scratchy throat and cough. Having a scratching and burning throat can be utterly depressing. Here are ten effective ways to get rid of a scratch throat without immediately rushing to your physician.
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How Common Are Fall Allergies
An estimated 15% to 30% of the U.S. population is thought to have allergic rhinitis. Youre more likely to have fall allergies if you have:
- Other seasonal or perennial allergies.
All people are different, but often people with allergies are sensitive to multiple allergens spring, fall and perennial, Dr. Aronica says. Sometimes, though, we do see patients with only a few sensitivities or with symptoms only in one of the seasons.
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How To Get Rid Of Seasonal Allergies Without Taking Medicine
Fortunately, you can try a variety of home treatments to help you get through allergy season. In fact, avoiding going outside while pollen counts are high, which is usually around dark and dawn, is one of the greatest methods to lessen or relieve allergy symptoms . This isnt always practicable or possible, though. Thats why, after returning indoors, its a good idea to shower and change into new clothes. This will aid in the removal of any pollen from your clothing or skin.
Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution is another effective technique to cure allergies. While nasal rinses wont totally alleviate your symptoms, they can help you feel better. Dr. Kara Wada, an allergist and immunologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Prevention, Sinus saline rinses can boost mucous clearance by around 30%, which can be quite beneficial in flushing out allergens. You can do the same thing with your eyes. Any allergies in your eyes can be rinsed out with eye drops or fake tears. It can also help them feel better if theyre itchy or runny.
How To Spot And Treat Oral Allergy Syndrome
You may already know that youÃ¢re allergic to ragweed or that certain types of tree pollen make you wheezy. But did you know that certain foods can trigger the same kinds of allergic reactions? Oral Allergy Syndrome is caused by cross-reacting allergens that are found in both the pollen and certain raw fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, spices, seeds, and tree nuts.
Have you wondered why eating celery causes your tongue to feel strange? Does munching on hazelnuts or walnuts cause your throat to tighten? If you have a tree pollen allergy, you may be suffering from Oral Allergy Syndrome! The same may be true for people allergic to ragweed, Mugwort, and other weeds and grasses, who have a sensitivity to certain foods. Understanding the pollen/food connection can solve the mystery of adult-onset food allergies and save you from a lot of dietary grief.
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How Can You Prevent Ragweed From Growing
There are a few ways to prevent Common Ragweed from repopulating your lawn. Firstly, as we said before be sure to pull them out by the roots while they are still young. This will prevent it from releasing seeds, and remove any of its roots that could potentially grow back next year.
Another tip is using mulch or other plant coverings to block sunlight for this weed can keep its growth down since ragweed requires full sun to grow! If you find Ragweed in your garden, you can use night tilling methods to reduce emergence by up to 45%.
Lastly, using small grains in constant rotation will suppress the growth of ragweed if they are over-seeded with clover. However, this then produces a clover problem in your lawn, so be sure to know how to deal with clover if you use this method.